24 Jan 2017
Do You Smell That? Let’s Talk Hygiene
Ok so it’s time to talk real right now about hygiene…down there. It’s completely normal to want to always be at your best, but sometimes by wanting to keep things too clean, you can actually do more damage than good! Here are some tips to keeps yourself healthy and clean.
No harsh products!
Bubble bath, perfumed body washes, perfumed sprays, scented pads or tampons… all these things are pretty bad for your vaginal pH. Your vagina has a perfect balance of bacteria that is actually there to keep you clean; if you use strong products it could kill some of the good bacteria, giving the bad bacteria or yeast room to grow (leading to bacterial vaginosis or yeast infections). The best thing to wash with is warm water and a little bit of soap-something unscented and natural like a Dove soap bar. There also exist products that are made specifically for washing down there, usually sold in the aisle of your pharmacy that sells pregnancy tests and yeast infection medication. Look for things like “gynecologist recommended”, “perfume/dye free”, “chemical free”, and “ph balanced” on the bottle. These products are personally what I recommend.
There is such a thing as being too clean!
Ok so I am not telling you to skip showering, once a day (or two if you’ve done a lot of sports or gotten excessively dirty), is the perfect amount. If you wash your genitals too often you run into the same problem as mentioned above, killing all the good bacteria. You can even irritate the skin or different parts of the vagina by washing and scrubbing too much. Most importantly, NO.. and I repeat, NO douching. Douching is one of the worst things you can do for your vagina. When you douche, you wash out everything inside, this can temporarily make things “cleaner” or smell “nicer” but you are giving the bad bacteria basically a giant playground to breed in. Douching often leads to infections and will get women caught in terrible cycles. What usually happens is that a woman will find that her scent is off, and instead of going to get checked (when your scent is off, this is usually bacterial vaginosis, a very common problem for women that can go away on its own or is easily treatable-only a doctor can tell you what is up!), they will use a douche, the scent will go away for a while but then come back stronger and they will keep using the douche without realizing that they are just making things worse and worse. Douches used to be popular back in the day, but any doctor now will tell you they are a terrible idea. If something is up, do not try to get rid of it with a douche or mask it with perfumes, go to the doc!
Get to know yourself!
Ok this may seem icky, but ladies, it’s important. You need to get to know what you smell like down there, what the texture is like and…maybe even what you taste like! Getting to know your scent and what your discharge is like (and how these both change throughout your cycle), will help you be aware when something is off, and get you seeing the doctor more quickly. Everyone has their own brand, some women do smell stronger than others, but when you don’t smell like YOU usually do, that’s when you know something may be wrong. Your partner can help with this, make it clear to them to not be shy to ever let you know if something seems different in turns of tastes and smells, it could be a warning sign! So how should it smell? Well it’s a little complicated, as mentioned before everyone’s smell is unique. Usually though it should smell somewhat sour and musky (sorry no bath and body works candle scents here), and can smell more metallic during or right after your period. The warning signs are when the smell is fishy (probably a sign of bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis), bready (probably a sign of a yeast infection), or rotten (probably a sign of a forgotten tampon). Smells can also change on what you eat, or if you’ve had sperm inside. Don’t be shy to go see your doctor if your smell is suddenly different!
Hope this helps, if you have any questions, please drop me a line below!
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